A seven day cruise holiday in the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand is a complete break away from a busy lifestyle. The Sounds are alive with natural beauty, early New Zealand history and fishing.
Our first view of our home for the next seven days was in Picton, as we looked down on the Affinity moored and waiting for us. Excitement mingled with apprehension, we’d never spent a week in such a confined space before with people we didn’t know.
Brian, our host and skipper soon put us all at rest and we were on our way. Imagine awakening our first morning to birds singing, not a breath of wind and the Affinity being lapped by still deep water. We were in a sheltered little bay none of us had ever heard of before.
If this was an indication of pleasure ahead, we couldn’t wait. Every day was a balance of walking and sightseeing, eating and relaxing. It was extremely well planned, with options of short walks and long walks. I’d never walked for four or more hours before but decided to give it a go. Patience was the necessary ingredient, walking at the pace of the slowest group member and giving each other encouragement. I can now say I’ve walked sections of the Queen Charlotte Track, and wouldn’t have missed the views for anything.
New Zealand’s first English contact was Captain James Cook, and we visited Motuara Island. It’s only a short walk to the top, Brian assured us. A short walk, yes, but a very steep one. Motuara is where Captain Cook stood and declared the islands of New Zealand now belonged to Queen Victoria of England. It is now a native bird sanctuary and can only be visited by boat.
Mussel farming is a growing industry in New Zealand and we were privileged to view a mussel farm up close. There wasn’t a lot to see, but if you are a shellfish fan like we are, seeing the mussel farm was a highlight. We also fished for our own deep water scallops and later cooked them on the barbecue. What a treat!
After a week we returned, tired but relaxed after our experience away from our busy lives. Marlborough Sounds is a truly beautiful place and we’re so glad we made the decision to holiday there in a unique part of our country.
Bags Packed, Ready to Go, But What Have You Left Behind?
You pack your bags carefully to go on vacation, but how carefully do you pack when it’s time to come home?
Most holidaymakers pack carefully when going on holiday. Lists of essential items are packed, checked and double checked. Nothing can be left behind. But, surprisingly, people are not so careful when checking out of hotel rooms. You’d be surprised at what is left behind.
A recent survey carried out in 30 Novotel hotels in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji shows that guests, once in a relaxed holiday mood away from their normal environment, are far less concerned about accounting for their belongings.
It’s easy to forget things such as clothes hung in the wardrobe, a bottle of wine in the fridge and shoes that have slipped under the bed. But, some items found by housekeeping staff leave raised eyebrows.
A hurried departure may account for an arrest warrant being left behind, but how could someone not notice they didn’t have their false limb with them? I can’t imagine anyone getting far without their false teeth, but apparently the pearly whites do get left to grin at the next person to enter the room.
What does a nun wear when she chooses to leave her habit behind? Should the nearest convent be checked to see if they’ve reported an escapee?
Things stuffed innocently under a pillow on the bed could escape notice when there’s been an early wake up call, so I’m sure there was a perfect explanation for the riding crop once found under a pillow. Or, maybe the owner of the riding crop didn’t want their spouse to know they’d been using one. The hotel didn’t report whether or not that item was claimed.
Parenthood can be stressful at the best of times, but obviously more so when on holiday. Maybe after keeping its parents awake all night, the quietly sleeping baby was obviously a matter of out of sight out of mind at departure time. Apparently the baby was reunited with its forgetful parents, but no mention made of how long it took for them to discover their loss.
Next time you go on holiday, you may want to consider what you take. Even more so, consider whether or not the item is still important enough to pack again when you return home. Is leaving things behind in hotel rooms a way of claiming insurance on unwanted items?